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Terence Winch

Mosab Abu Toha: Pick of the Week [ed. Terence Winch]

Mohamed Mahdy-web 2



















Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear

       for Alicia M. Quesnel, MD


When you open my ear, touch it


My mother’s voice lingers somewhere inside.

Her voice is the echo that helps recover my equilibrium

when I feel dizzy during my attentiveness.


You may encounter songs in Arabic,

poems in English I recite to myself,

or a song I chant to the chirping birds in our backyard.


When you stitch the cut, don’t forget to put all these back in my ear.

Put them back in order as you would do with books on your shelf.



The drone’s buzzing sound,

the roar of an F-16,

the screams of bombs falling on houses,

on fields, and on bodies,

of rockets flying away—

rid my small ear canal of them all.


Spray the perfume of your smiles on the incision.

Inject the song of life into my veins to wake me up.

Gently beat the drum so my mind may dance with yours,

my doctor, day and night.


Mosab Abu Toha is a Palestinian poet, short-story writer, and essayist from Gaza. His first collection of poetry, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and won the Palestine Book Award, the American Book Award, and the Walcott Poetry Prize. Abu Toha is also the founder of the Edward Said Library in Gaza. He recently won an Overseas Press Club Award for his “Letter from Gaza” columns for The New Yorker.  His writings from Gaza have appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The New York Review, among others. His second poetry book, Forest of Noise, is forthcoming from Knopf in October 2024. [Author photo credit: Mohamed Mahdy]


Sliman Mansour  Mother and her child (أم وطفلها)  oil on canvas  2016                                                               Sliman Mansour, Mother and Her Child (أم وطفلها), oil on canvas, 2016.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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